No, United Hasn’t Cancelled The Electronic Travel Certificate Refund, They Have Just *Simplified* How To Get It

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United has had one of the best voluntary change policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

They allow you to choose between receiving a future flight credit (FFC) or an electronic travel certificate (ETC). I broke down the pros and cons of those options in this April post.

Selecting either option was as simple as clicking cancel on your itinerary and then selecting the option you preferred, which for most people will be the ETC.


United has even made it easier to manage ETCs by adding them to your account online and allowing you to redeem multiple ETCs for the same ticket.

I’ve seen several posts and comments this month about the ETC option being removed and sure enough, when I checked the only online option was future flight credit:


I called United and the agent that she was still able to offer an electronic travel certificate if that’s what I wanted.

I emailed United for comment on the change and they said,


“We are continually looking at ways to simplify the travel experience for our customers, and as part of that effort, we continue to offer Future Flight Credits (FFCs) to customers who are seeking to change or cancel their travel plans. While Electronic Travel Certificates (ETCs) served us well in a critical time during the pandemic, FFCs are a similar tool that can be used for travel on any United, United Express, or partner operated flights allowing our customers greater flexibility when they are ready to rebook their travel.

We are still offering ETCs to customers who would like to receive one. Customers now must call Contact Centers if they wish to receive an ETC. Customers holding ETCs can still redeem them on as they did before, and we’re continuing to add new features to make them even easier to use.”


I pushed back for answers as to why it was removed online and whether United would let people know about future changes and was told,


“Calling to get an ETC is the most efficient way to streamline the credit process for customers. FFC will remain an online option. If any further changes are made to FFCs or ETCs they will be posted to”


I’m still not sure how the process has been simplified by making people call United and wasting United phone agents time with a process that was doable online, but there you have it. You can still get an ETC, you’ll just have to call for it.

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14 Comments On "No, United Hasn’t Cancelled The Electronic Travel Certificate Refund, They Have Just *Simplified* How To Get It"

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In other words, leave us alone while we make it harder for you to use your money that we are holding on to.


Had the same thing. Only gave me the FFC option, had to call to convert to a ETC, but that took 5 days to process, in which I couldn’t use the funds.
They obviously prefer people taking FFC. It’s similar to airlines hiding the option for full refunds in case of flight cancellation.
I’ve tried getting refunds on several airlines, and they highlight the travel credit/free changes options, and in tiny letters at the bottom of the page have “more options”, where you can make a refund request.


I was able to get an ETC Over the phone by HUCA and asked for refund department and was issued within the hour or so


This crap (in addition to the ever-shrinking seats, and constantly devaluing miles) is why avoid flying United.


I am not sure this may be entirely accurate. I have called in three times so far and I keep getting the same story. ETC’s ended on July 31 and cancelled tickets are good for future flight credits only with no change fees. This is frustrating because United keeps changing the rules.


I called them to get a ETC instead of a FFC and they told me the same thing, I can get only a FFC as the ETC was discontinued from July 31. It is just frustrating.


So far I had great experience this pandemic with calling United agents .
Two different times had flights for the all family and planning Was changing for me and I got full refund with no problem one of the times was less than 24 hours before the flight. TYH!


Just called to get an ETC for a trip. First agent sounded like she was in a foreign call center, put me on hold and came back and said I’m only eligible for a FFC. HUCA’d and got a rep who sounded local, and he gave an ETC right away.


Just hung up with United and they said they’ll issue me a ETC, but it will take 6-14 days to process. Is there anyway to get it quicker as I want to book a flight asap?


Anyone know what is the police now?


I called and asked for Electronic Travel Credit and explained I had originally used ETC to rebook another flight but then now have to cancel this one. They said that the ETC option ended July 31st but they would ask support team for an exemption given that I had originally rebooked before July 31st and originally had the funds as ETC. Then they asked for a reason why rebooked and cancelled yet. I explained that circumstances have changed due to COVID and trip had to be rescheduled. It seems they don’t prefer doing this and only unless you call and explain the reason for it.

J Pendray

In my opinion, this seems to be a United scam and disservice to its clients. I spent a half hour trying to find my accumulated travel certificates in my account on the United website, and they are hidden. The only way to find them is with the pin or ticket number that United sent you by email when your flight was canceled. I then called customer service, and they can’t see them on my account either without that info! I think that United is hoping that you will lose track of these emails and forget about them so they can keep the money. Worse, if they go bankrupt, I suspect that travel certificates will not be high on the list of preferred creditors and we’ll all lose.

Don Diego

Another negative on the FFC is that you can only use one FFC online (not sure about phone). You have to start your booking with the FFC and then it keeps that value at checkout. It’s not like an ETC where you can select multiple at payment time.